Nothing beats scoring a great deal. And with Boxing Day sales just a few days away, the desire to hit the road (or the internet) as soon as possible can be hard to resist.
Last year, Ebates.ca predicted that 53 per cent of Canadians would shop on Boxing Day, which general manager Adrienne Down Coulson called “one of the biggest shopping days if not the biggest shopping day in Canada,” compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While shopping on Boxing Day means that you’ll inevitably get a good deal on purchases, this doesn’t prevent shoppers from making poor decisions. We turned to the experts for some tips on avoiding shopping mistakes when it can be hard to resist the deal.
#1 Don’t lose sight of your priorities
One thing personal shoppers stress is to “shop with intention.” That means have a plan in place before heading out on a shopping expedition: what do you need and how much are you willing to spend?
“Make a list of trends you want to incorporate into your wardrobe, and key pieces you need,” Natalie Tincher of Buttoned Up said to Refinery29. “That way, if you see something online or in-person and you’re tempted, you can pass it more easily and think, Let me hold on and wait for that perfect piece that’s number 3 on my list.”
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#2 Don’t shop exclusively online
It may be convenient, but it’s also a little harder to keep track of your spending when all you have to do is type a credit card number into an online form. Plus, Tincher points out, returning things that were purchased online can be a complicated process, which means you might be tempted to hang on to something that you don’t need or want just to avoid the hassle.
#3 Don’t get caught up in the deal
It’s easy to be swayed by an attractive deal, but Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist, author and Time.com contributor, says staying focused is the key to preventing over spending.
“When we’re emotionally charged while shopping, we’re also more prone to impulse purchases,” she says. “Whether online or in store, tempting add-on items will be especially prevalent. The solution is to breathe deeply and take an extra moment to consider what you’re really buying.”
#4 Don’t spend to save
Never calculate the savings you’ll make when buying an item that’s on sale. Unless it’s something you really need or want, buying something just because it’s discounted doesn’t save you any money because you’re still spending to buy it.
“In no universe is spending money actually saving money,” Yarrow says. “But it can feel like that. Beyond that, remember that in our discount-crazed world, original prices are usually wildly inflated, so sales ‘save’ far less money than you think.”
#5 Don’t shop in a group
By shopping alone, you won’t have to stick to someone else’s time constraints or preferences, and you can focus on the stores that relate specifically to you and your needs.
And don’t forget, “you know yourself better than anyone else,” Tincher says. Friends may say things to make you feel better or to avoid an awkward situation, or they could pressure you into buying something you’re really not that into. Trust your gut and follow your own instincts.
The one caveat: trust the unsolicited advice of a stranger.
“If a nice friendly lady who doesn’t know you tells you how great something looks, well, this person really doesn’t need to say anything at all,” Valerie Halfon of Shop with Val also told Refinery29. “That person truly means it.”
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#6 Don’t succumb to “sale brain”
If you’re shopping for designer fashion, consider what’s dominating the sales racks. Because those pieces are rarely the ones that miraculously weren’t snatched up at regular price.
“What are the odds that a classic piece from a coveted fashion brand would drop to over 50 per cent off? Zero,” writes Meenal Mistry, fashion director of the Off Duty section of The Wall Street Journal. “Well-made wardrobe builders rarely languish on racks. What lingers there are irksome skirts and troubled tops that 20 people tried on and rejected.”
Scrutinize these pieces just as closely as you would if they were regular price. And don’t assume a tailor can fix anything. A little nip of a waistline or a cuff is easy enough, but even the most gifted professional can’t shrink or expand an item by two or more sizes.